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Page added on August 17, 2013

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More population growth?


Predictions of future population growth are always shaky. And as far as I know the fastest and best way to restrict growth on an already crowded planet is to empower women (education, access to birth control, income). However, these are the predictions of the specialists, from the worldwatch institute:

World population reached 7.2 billion in mid-2013, according to United Nations demographers, with present and projected future growth propelled in part by unexpectedly high fertility in a number of developing countries. Based on current trends in global birth, death, and migration rates, the United Nations projects a variety of future population scenarios, with the three principal ones suggesting that world population will be somewhere between 6.8 billion and 16.6 billion at the end of this century. Using a number based literally on a projection of trends through 2010, the U.N. demographers determined that 82.1 million people were added to the world’s population in 2012—the highest annual increment since 1994. Based in large part on the 2010 round of annual censuses in countries around the world, the new U.N. Population Division report, World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, dispels a widespread view that experts expect population growth to end “on its own” sometime in the second half of the twenty-first century. Rather, the new medium-fertility or best-guess scenario suggests the most likely outcome is that world population will continue to grow throughout this century and into the next. In this scenario, the world still gains more than 10 million people in the year 2100 and closes the century at 10.9 billion.

By 2050, the year when many in the environmental and food security fields had been assuming the world will be home to around 9 billion human beings, the new projections suggest instead a global population of 9.6 billion. That is about 700 million people more than the 8.9 billion the U.N. Population Division had projected for 2050 just 10 years ago.

Real-World Economics Review Blog

13 Comments on "More population growth?"

  1. LT on Sat, 17th Aug 2013 1:30 pm 

    .Yes, population will keep growing till calamities such as fossil fuel decline, famines, plague, wars occur.

  2. rollin on Sat, 17th Aug 2013 1:53 pm 

    How can groups of educated and intelligent people keep predicting huge population rises into the future? Are they working in a vacuum or totally discounting how the world works? Nature and resource limits do not allow overpopulation and the assessments of failing resource base vs. population are well known. Throw in climate change and the level confidence in predictions falls to near zero. Why keep wasting time putting out garbage population predictions?

    Better to just admit that population predictions past 2018 have no scientific or logical basis due to a variety of strong factors we do not fully understand nor can we predict the effects in detail. Why not just admit that there are many more negative factors for population than positive and say it is likely the population will be much smaller in 2100, no values needed? That is, if it is even possible to get a population count in 2100.

  3. LT on Sat, 17th Aug 2013 3:29 pm 

    There is a BIG difference between a prediction and an assertion.

    A prediction is, at best, an educated guess, a speculation. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    In contrast, an assertion requires proofs. And no one can have a proof of something that has not yet occurred.

    As of today, looking around the entire world, there is no signs of population contraction worldwide. So, that means the world population will continue to grow for some more time into the future.
    How long will it be is anybody’s guess. But, definitely there will be a peak in world population. It can’t just keep growing forever on this small Earth.

  4. mididoctors on Sat, 17th Aug 2013 4:50 pm 

    these numbers are insane

  5. DC on Sat, 17th Aug 2013 6:36 pm 

    The whole issue could be summed up thusly, and saving a lot of hand wringing while they are at it.

    -The world population will continue to grow, until it is no longer physically possible for it to so.

    Exactly what it is doing now. All this talk about a ‘demographic transition’ is just a way for liberals to pretend population growth will slow all on its own, while in the real world-we keep adding 80 million+ every year. Only in liberal math does 80+ million net growth in population = eventual decline in population! And we thought Neo-cons were bad at math!

    Unlimited growth until the crash. It does not matter if Germany or Japan have declining populations, it only matter what the world as a whole is doing.

    Do not take this statement to imply population will suddenly stop, then reverse of its own accord-it wont. The growth phase is certainly ‘voluntary’ at least in the sense we have no intention of doing anything about it, except conduct more studies of course. The decline phase, for the 3rd world toilets(and the US), will be rather IN-voluntary, and not pleasant at all.

  6. arthur plow on Sat, 17th Aug 2013 8:13 pm 

    That … unless we get World War Z !

  7. actioncjackson on Sat, 17th Aug 2013 8:36 pm 

    I personally believe in the 16.6 billion by the end of the century, yea, that sounds right.

  8. GregT on Sat, 17th Aug 2013 9:19 pm 

    If we continue on with BAU for 2 more decades, the chances of human survival on earth, are pretty much zero.

  9. bobinget on Sat, 17th Aug 2013 11:22 pm 

    Speaking of ‘population’ I’m reminded of this month’s National Geographic, “Rising Seas”.
    Included is a map showing consequence when “All the ice melted and how the ultimate sea-level catastrophe would reshape our world”.

    Starting with ALL of Florida, the East Coast of NA gets drowned. Submerged cities; Cancun, Houston, New Orleans, Charleston, Norfolk, Washington DC. Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC, Montreal, Halifax…
    You get the picture.

    IOW’s one enormous population displacement. There is no way we can avert this disaster. A similar fate awaits
    America’s West coast. Ironically, America’s rust belt will be spared, provided they can still grow enough food.

  10. GregT on Sun, 18th Aug 2013 12:44 am 

    Unfortunately, rising sea levels will be the least of our concerns. People can move.

    Ocean acidification is causing a die-off of phytoplankton, which happen to be responsible for half of the planet’s oxygen production. Oxygen is somewhat important, to human survival.

  11. Arthur on Sun, 18th Aug 2013 10:37 am 

    Let rising sealevels be a concern of the Dutch, after +1 meter, 50% of our territory is finished.

    “when All the ice melted and how the ultimate sea-level catastrophe would reshape our world”.

    Yeah, wait until a meteor of 5 km diameter hits the earth.

    Let’s cross that sealevel/meteor/WW3 bridge when we come to it, shall we.

  12. GregT on Mon, 19th Aug 2013 2:14 am 

    That would be like saying; ‘ Let’s not worry about alternate energy infrastructure, until the oil is all gone.’

  13. John on Tue, 20th Aug 2013 1:21 pm 

    Population growth is a good thing. The increased innovation and economic growth that comes along with a large and growing population will always overcome any problems that are caused by a larger population. What we end up with is higher standards of living, not lower. People have predicted doom and gloom from population growth for the last 100 years and have always been wrong because they fail to account for human innovation. What we should be worried about is declining birthrates and population aging.

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